Friday, June 17, 2011

The Journey Begins

How it all Started
As I sit here on my last day of work and reflect on how I came to this position, I realize how blessed I am to have all the friends, family and influences surrounding me. Without their support and advice at key points in my life, I never would have been able to set myself up to get to this point where I am able to quit my job and chase my dream. So how did this all start you may ask?
Well, back in early February of this year, I had the very fortunate circumstances to have scheduled a trip to California on what turned out to be the first day the airports re-opened after the worst snow storm and coldest conditions I have ever seen were blasting through Oklahoma. However, to even get to the airport with my bike in the first place required several friends all chipping in to not only give me an early morning ride with my bike box to get to the airport but also a ride to the bike shop owner’s house the previous day to get my bike from him after he so graciously risked driving in what I can only describe as “Zombie Apocalypse” conditions to grab my bike from his shop (Thanks Ted, Hugh, and Dylan!).
Now this all led to my arriving in what has to be the most pleasant area on Earth. Every single day was 70’s and sunny from riding with Rob at Trailhead Coffee in Penryn to crossing the golden gate bridge into San Francisco to non-stop climbing and breathtaking descending through Big Sur to the endless beaches of SoCal as we made our way 650 miles in 7 days from San Francisco down to San Diego. During this trip, as I relentlessly latched on to my buddy Kyle’s wheel to make it through each day, was when I met so many amazing people that all seemed to have such a different perspective on life. Guys who were either racing as pros (big thanks to the guys in San Luis Obispo who put us up for a night and tuned our bikes up!) or simply living blocks from the beach, surfing and swimming whenever they felt. They all seemed to have a different vibe that said work and play do not have to be separate. You can enjoy what you do to make a living and you don’t have to be rich to live where others vacation. It was all a revelation to me. It showed me that maybe quitting my job to chase after my dreams was not only not weird and unpractical, but to some, the only logical thing for someone in my position to do!
And so I got started on turning it from idea to reality. To start, I sold off some investments to buy a Honda Element, with the plan being that I could sleep on one side and fit both bikes on the other with my gear in a storage box on top. Next up, came buying all the camping and hiking gear and cutting out all unnecessary expenses in order to save up as much money as possible for the trip. Since my lifestyle was already fairly trim budget wise, I made the biggest cuts from food, drink, and simply not buying anymore cycling and running gear that I didn’t absolutely need. Now, I’ve been a bit vague about what exactly this trip, and my dreams, entails. But in a nutshell, I want autonomy over my work schedule and to live in an environment with easy access to a wide range of outdoor activities. But, my goals for this trip are much more than that.
                In the following years, I plan to:
·         Reignite my creativity by getting away from a desk all day and using nature to inspire me. For myself, I struggle with creating thoughts, ideas, and solutions when sitting inside behind a desk or at a cubicle, however, they seem to simply flow out of me whenever I am able to clear my head out on a run or bike ride.
·         Challenge myself. Everyone needs to be challenged on a constant basis to grow. This will be my biggest challenge yet!
·         Tap into my potential that I feel has been held back by the nature of cubicle work and generally being “too busy” with normal day to day life.
·         Bet on myself. I believe I have the ability to truly create a unique way to make a living out of the experiences I’m about to undertake and I’m not afraid to tap into my savings to bankroll them.
·         Travel around the country simply for the love of it. Meet new people, have new experiences, and see new places that will grow my knowledge and fulfill my need for adventure!
·         Learn as much as I can about anything and everything that will enable me to become a more well-rounded individual, a better person, and someone a person would want to sit down and have a beer with simply to pick his brain!
·         Train. As much as possible. Run, bike, swim. Repeat. Get fit. Get fast. Pro card? Plausible.
·         And lastly, but most importantly, to grow my faith in God and continually seek out His will for life and His direction in everything I do. All the glory is truly due to Him for orchestrating everything in my life to lead to this point.
The Journey
So what is it exactly that I’m doing? Well I’m leaving as soon as possible in the next week to head up to areas in Colorado, Utah, Portland, Seattle, Penticton, Couer d’Alene, Yellowstone and more to hike, run, bike, backpack, swim and whatever else catches my fancy as I slowly work my way around the country to see and experience as much as I can. This first trip will include all the areas of the Northwest that I can get to over the next couple of months as I race the Rev3 half-ironman in Portland, a sprint triathlon in Couer d’Alene, and explore all of the national parks I can handle along the way.
Sounds like a heck of an adventure, right? Well it doesn’t stop there. For the fall, I plan to head up to the east coast right after my Branson half-Ironman in mid-September and proceed to move all the way down the coast as the temps cool off and I migrate to warmer weather. How long will this go? Only time, and more blog posts, will tell.
So in conclusion, I want to give a big thank you to all the friends that have got me to this point in my life, from the ones that have lent a hand along the way, to the ones that have given advice at just the right time. To my old roommate, Brock, whose discussions about investing led me to do just that at a very good time. To my cubemate, Adam, who put up with me without complaint for four years while I tore my hair out about those early investments, chatted about random things, ate and brewed tea constantly, and removed my shoes every chance I got to keep my feet from sweating into an unbearable level. To all my co-workers of the last four years, for putting up with my various eccentricities, my boss in particular. To my travel buddy, Kyle, who so graciously put up with all my whining and complaining while still waiting around and pulling my butt down the coastline for 7 days of intense cycling. To my roommates, for always paying rent. To my parents, for everything they have done throughout my life and for their acceptance of this craziness and willingness to help by storing all of my stuff while I am gone. And most importantly to God, for making all things possible. I hope you all will stay tuned for what is next to come in my Journey!